United beat Swansea 2-1, in Alex Ferguson’s last game at Old Trafford. In his career lasting 26 years, he bought 13 titles to the club, breaking many records along the way. Although many pundits and analysts will be quick to cite more traditional achievement, we shall take this opportunity to review some of his results from over the years, and review his season outcomes, beginning with this record breaking season, where United begun with an away loss to Everton, before winning at City and Chelsea, whilst completing the double over Liverpool. In Europe, United went out to Real Madrid, after their 10 men lost 1-2 at home, and 2-3 on aggregate, whilst in the league and FA cup, they were defeated by Chelsea. In the FA Cup, most notably, United took a 2-0 lead at Old Trafford before a stunning second half comeback saw Chelsea unfortunate to leave with more than a draw (DDG’s last minute save from Juan Mata, much to owe, even if Cech less sensational than Cech’s save against Chicarito in the 2nd leg.) Had Mata’s shot gone in, United would have lost a record unprecedented in the Europe game: in more than 340 games in which United took a two goal lead, they NEVER, NEVER, NEVER went on to lose a game. In fact, other than Chelsea, the closest any team ever came to beating United, after coming from two goals down, 27/9/11. was Basle, who drew 3-3 when Ashley Young scored in the last minute.
Since the EPL began in 1992, United have never led at half time and gone on to lose the tie. “West Bromwich came back from a 2-0 half-time deficit on October 16, 2010”, whilst, last year, Everton came back from 4-2 to draw (another time in the league, they fought back from 3-0 down, but lost thanks to a late Ruud V.N. strike.) The game against West Brom is importantly, nevertheless, because it marked near perfect home form for United, being the only team they dropped points against at Home. Chelsea accomplished a similar feat in 2005/6 when only Charlton held them, and Sunderland did the game against City last season, losing a two goal lead, late in the game. It is also worth noting that, when Chelsea were ascending the ranks, United were not mounting a proper challenge to either London club, finishing third in 2001/2, 2003/4 and 2004/5. Last season, United were humbled in Europe when Athletico Bilbao completed the double over them, much like AC Milan had done in 2006. Also, this season, Tottenham won at Old Trafford and defeated United for the first time in many years, and also earnt a last minute home draw against them, to correct the injustice they suffered at Old Trafford years ago. Furthermore, United fans would also be far from impressed having also lost late league ties to Manchester City and Chelsea at home, with City also completing the double over them in the previous season. The 1-6 defeat over 10 man united was the worst since the 1-4 win Liverpool had there. That season, Liverpool also completed the double over them. Meanwhile, a record breaking Chelsea side, two seasons ago, won home and away at Liverpool, United and Arsenal, although they were defeated by Tottenham.
In the 2010/11 season, United went the entire UCL season without conceding an away goal, en route, doing the double over Chelsea (Inter doubled them the season before), before losing their unbeaten record to Barcelona, in the final. (Last year, Madrid won all games in normal time, only dropping points to Bayern and CSKA Moscow.) They went 30 games unbeaten before Wolves beat them, followed by Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal, also losing to West Ham in the League Cup and City in the FA Cup. (2011/12, City won.) Although their defeats to Barcelona (2008/09 and 2010/11) saw them humbled, Ferguson did beat Rijkaards team in 2007/08 before winning the final, on penalties, against Chelsea. It was one of their finest moments, and would also be United 3rd final in four years. Their worst day, however, was surely their 0-1 home defeat to Leeds, two leagues down, in the FA Cup. (Even Arsenal’s FA Cup defeat this year was to a side a league down, although they did lose to Bradford in the league cup.) Other notable aspects of Fergusons career can be found in his signing seeing him successfully bring Ronaldo and Cantona to the club; falling out with Beckham, Van Nistle Rooy and Stam, and squandering money on Veron and Forlan… Other memorable European nights would include their dramatic win against Bayern (who avenged their defeat years later, coming form 3-0 down to lose 3-2 and go through on away goals) whilst their encounters with Real Madrid were made famous for the skill of Redondo (2-3 at Old Trafford) and the hat-trick of Ronaldo (4-3 win at Old Trafford.)
(Paolo Maldini’s career last from 1985 to 2009, whilst Giggs is still going.)